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February 4, 2003 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Ireland to ban smoking in pubs. The room ... spinning ... reality ... falling away....
posted by Pretty_Generic (90 comments total)

 
Don't ask me why it's filed under "Northern Ireland".
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:44 PM on February 4, 2003


Mandate deputy general secretary John Douglas said research had shown that 150 bar workers died in Ireland every year from ill-health caused by passive smoking.

Seems reasonable to me. Although they should ask the bar workers for their opinions first.
posted by riffola at 2:47 PM on February 4, 2003


I'm asthmatic, so I think it's great. The only problem would be that no non-asthmatics would go to pubs with me anymore.

I suppose that's a problem.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:50 PM on February 4, 2003


Not only Ireland, but Australia as well. No to mention requiring workers to clock out every time they duck outside for a quick fag.
posted by dg at 2:57 PM on February 4, 2003


3, 2, 1....
posted by adampsyche at 2:58 PM on February 4, 2003


It's as if people are suddenly becoming unhinged, being wrenched from reality by governments who seem blinkered to actual problems, but hell-bent on eliminating passive smoke in pubs!

See also: New York. Did anybody vote on all this do-goodnik-ness?
posted by hama7 at 2:59 PM on February 4, 2003


Now some men take delight in the drinking and the roving,
But others take delight in the gambling and the...uh...damn!

whack for the daddy 'ol
there's whiskey in the jar

posted by apostasy at 3:02 PM on February 4, 2003


I've always wanted to visit Ireland, but I was put off imagining how smokey their indoor areas seemed to be (never been there, but in my small minded, US centric vision, all restaurants and buildings are filled with a thick, choking cloud of stench). I'm probably unique, but it would be interesting if this boosted tourism for them.
posted by willnot at 3:06 PM on February 4, 2003


In Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, you cannot smoke in bars. You cannot smoke in restaurants either, unless there's a separate smoking section with its own separate ventilation system. No smoking in shopping malls either.

As a result, you always see groups of people smoking just outside the doors of those places.

Also, I forget who asked in what other thread, but Ottawa is the city I mentioned where you can't park in the street for more than 3 hours at a time.
posted by titboy at 3:13 PM on February 4, 2003


"The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues."

-Taylor, Elizabeth
posted by spazzm at 3:15 PM on February 4, 2003


You do know this is a good thing ... right ... ?
posted by feelinglistless at 3:19 PM on February 4, 2003


Here in South Australia there's not yet any laws against smoking in bars (unless you're in an area where meals are being served and eaten, in which case it's banned). However, having recently travelled interstate, I've noticed that in Victorian pubs there are signs telling patrons not to smoke at the actual bar. In other words, you can smoke at your table, you can smoke at the pool table, you can smoke anywhere, but not when you actually approach the bar staff to order a drink.

Maybe this, combined with a good ventilation system, is a good compromise?
posted by Jimbob at 3:23 PM on February 4, 2003


This is a health issue with gross political overtones. In the end, there will be no compromise.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:26 PM on February 4, 2003


I'm glad to hear this. I never could stand to go into a smoky bar, and I can barely imagine how bartenders and waitstaff manage to stand it. (Well, apparently they don't, since 150 of them per year drop dead.)

All I can say is that this is good for people. And, it means that now I'll be able to go into an Irish pub without choking. And, there's probably going to be a lot more outdoor seating at pubs in the near future.
posted by Jonasio at 3:34 PM on February 4, 2003


it's difficult to get used to the idea that in more and more public places, it will no longer be lawful to walk in, light a match, and begin to burn up something.
posted by jellybuzz at 3:48 PM on February 4, 2003


This is a good measure. Smoking is harmful, anyone who smokes is foolishly imperiling their life, and the lives of those around them. But still, banning smoking in bars just plain sucks. It is very very nice to sit in a bar with a beer and an ashtray that you get to use to smoke. I fear that one day I will have to build a small shed in my backyard which I will decorate to look like a bar on the inside. I will then sit in my small shed smoking cigarettes and drinking beer and making small talk with my imaginary bar tender.
posted by Mushkelley at 3:49 PM on February 4, 2003


I don't really care one way or the other about this. But because I'm terrified at the idea of Elizabeth Taylor being considered as some paragon of wisdom, here are some quotes:

"Our vices always lie in the direction of our virtues, and in their best estate are but plausible imitations of the latter." -- Thoreau

"We can endure neither our vices nor the remedies for them." -- Livy

"Don’t forget that even our most obscene vices nearly always bear the seal of sullen greatness." -- Bufliano

"It is queer how it is always one’s virtues and not one’s vices that precipitate one into disaster." -- Rebecca West
posted by ed at 3:52 PM on February 4, 2003


Wouldn't it be just a better idea to let the bar owners decide their own policies for themselves?

The part that bothers me is that they aren't able to.
posted by hama7 at 3:58 PM on February 4, 2003


Sure hama7, and we can let the sausage manufactures decide whether they want to allow rats to fall into the meat. After all, the patrons will go to the meat vendors that are clean and the market will take care of itself right?

I have a strong libertarian streak in me, but some things aren't well solved by the market for some reason.
posted by willnot at 4:05 PM on February 4, 2003


I'm Irish(-American, anyway), and I've always wanted to visit Ireland specifically to enjoy the thick, choking atmosphere of the pubs. Now my dream is ruined. I'll just have to settle for heroin in Portugal, I guess.
posted by mmcg at 4:12 PM on February 4, 2003


Good for them. My opinion is that hard-core cigarette smokers (who are by definition drug addicts) are super-devoted to keeping smoking legal indoors, but non cigarette smokers, while often bothered by the smoke, just aren't devoted enough to the anti-smoking cause to boycott restaurants/bars that allow smoking. So the result is that market forces don't result in smoke-free bars/restaurants, and political action is needed. I don't have data to back this up, but my gut feeling is that from a utilitarian standpoint, anti-smoking laws are a good thing, as they increase the happiness of legions of non-smokers while decreasing the happiness of a relatively tiny number of smokers. If it encourages more people to give up the drug, that will be great from a public health standpoint.
posted by jcruelty at 4:13 PM on February 4, 2003


That's a keeper, willnot. Thanks for the analogy.
posted by gramcracker at 4:17 PM on February 4, 2003


Couple of possibilities:

(1) In California, I've seen some places have an pavillioned, outdoor cafe-like area for smoking, connected to the inside by enough double doors to make the places feel like relatively continuous, if distinct, areas. I don't know if it was due to the laws or the generally health-conscious culture, but everybody seemed pretty happy with it. May not work so well in a less mediterranean climate.


(2) In Utah, this is circumvented by creating the illusion of a "private club". You're supposed to have a "membership" in order to get into a place where they smoke and serve likker. Since it's a private club, it doesn't run afoul of the smokin' and drinkin' laws that apply to public places, but it's also trivially easy for anyone to get in anyway. Either you can get a trial/temporary membership, or you can get the door guy/gal to sponsor you. It's funny, but it works.

(3) In Nevada, they just seem to let people smoke.


I don't know why I'm saying this, seeing as how I really hate cigarette smoke, but I think it's getting harder and harder to justify any pro-cigarrette public stance, and most states are probably going to become less and less smoking friendly. The above solutions have let people who really want to smoke coexist relatively peacefully with that stance.

The day the Irish ban alcohol, though... that'd be something else (and I don't even drink).
posted by namespan at 4:17 PM on February 4, 2003


> In Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, you cannot smoke in bars.

Next year, we ban drinking in pubs.
posted by jfuller at 4:25 PM on February 4, 2003


It seems like smoking is a pet project that allows people to get really upset about something, and feel like they're doing something instead of tackling important issues. (Yes, I recognize the health impact, but all smoke related illnesses are avoidable (don't smoke, don't be where smoke is).

I hate smoking, but I can't bring myself to tell other people they can't smoke. I'll avoid places where smoking occurs, and tell people how bad it is for them, but I won't force them to "butt out". I'm all for smoking-only restaurants and bars, as long as there are smoke-free restaurants that I can go to.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:32 PM on February 4, 2003


The rats/meat analogy doesn't quite gel, because if the sausage king has a sign over his door that says: "rat meat served here", then you have the choice to go to the sausage emporium with the sign reading; "rat-free".

Likewise smoking. A sign saying 'We have a non-smoking policy" would suffice, and has been perfectly adequate until recently. There are quite a few New York restaurants and bars which have had such policies for years before the city government got involved.

It's a disturbing trend.
posted by hama7 at 4:33 PM on February 4, 2003


But others take delight in the gambling and the...uh...damn!

Eh, you can still take delight in courting pretty fair maids in the morning bright and early...

I'm asthmatic, so I think it's great.

Me too, allergic to various things like cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, solvents and chemicals. When I was younger it didn't keep me out of the bars, but now having my windpipe shrink to the size of a cocktail straw forces me to find better ways to spend an evening (that don't force me to shower when I get home as well). Most people don't understand this, unless they have some experience with drowning or general asphyxiation of one sort or another ; )
posted by Shane at 4:56 PM on February 4, 2003


Because there's an Eddie Izzard quote for every possible scenario:

"Certainly haven’t been smoking in a bar in California, that’s for certain. 'Cause you can’t! No, no smoking in bars now, and soon no drinking and no talking. Be careful California! You’re supposed to be the crazy state, the out-there wild ones, y’know in the future everyone’s gonna say 'Come down to the library, we’ll have a wild time, shall we?'"
posted by kevspace at 5:07 PM on February 4, 2003


Mushkelly: I fear that one day I will have to build a small shed in my backyard which I will decorate to look like a bar on the inside.

Sir, I had to search long and hard for this classic old link, so I hope you appreciate it: For Mushkelly.

Not a bad idea in general, really.
posted by Shane at 5:24 PM on February 4, 2003


California used to have this reputation of being "laid back" and full of "hippy types". Hippy types smoke, man. Fact is, it's full of people that want to tell you how whatever you're doing (driving, smoking, drinking) is bad bad bad, so stop it!

There's a reason bars allow smoking: because a great number of bar-going people smoke. Especially in dive bars. I wouldn't be greatly opposed to non-smoking "clubs", you know - where people go to listen to music and dance. And I'm not too bothered by the non smoking restaurants. But I am bothered by the non-smoking bar thing.

People go to bars to hand out for a long time and get fucked up. It's not like bars are serving up carot juice and ginseng tablets - they server liqour. Liqour gets you fucked up, and it eventually kills you. Nobody expects to come out of a bar healthier than when they went in - most expect to come out with some damage done that will take most of the next day (...week..) to recover from.

The reason bars are *not* non smoking is because it drastically hurts business. In the case of a cafe in Michigan, I've seen it happen. The landlord decided that the cafe could no longer allow smokers inside when lease renewal time came. Cafe took em to court saying it would destroy their business and lost. Six months later: no more cafe.

Before the change, it was so busy you had to wait to get a table. Afterwards, you had to wait a while before there was even anyone else to talk to in the place.

The one thing I'm curious about - those "150 deaths" each year - are those smoking or non-smoking employees? I'd bet the former. In every bar/restaurant I've ever worked at, a striking majority of the employees smoked.

The way things are going, pretty soon the government is going to be making sure that I drink my 8 glasses of water per day and that I'm taking my soma^H^H^H^Hvitamins every morning.
posted by jaded at 5:26 PM on February 4, 2003


Get yer own effin' blog portable pub:

posted by Shane at 5:29 PM on February 4, 2003


So, Mushkelly, you say you want a backyard pub?
posted by greengirl at 5:30 PM on February 4, 2003


The only sane position a government can take.

I have an idea. Because second-hand smoke has been scientifically demonstrated to cause cancer and inhibit people's ability to breathe; and because my brain starts to hurt from oxygen deprivation when I come in contact from cigarette smoke, the opinions of those who smoke should not be considered on the issue of banning smoking in public places.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:31 PM on February 4, 2003


Uh, nevermind
posted by greengirl at 5:32 PM on February 4, 2003


sorry,gg!
posted by Shane at 5:34 PM on February 4, 2003


the thing is, ever every place banned smoking then smokers would have no where to go and just go outside to smoke at bars. If only a few places did it, they would just lose bussness.

I'd probably go to a bar or whatever more often if I knew my clothes wouldn't come back reaking.
posted by delmoi at 5:41 PM on February 4, 2003


I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, second-hand smoke sucks rocks—it stinks, it tastes horrible, it causes cancer and lots of other nasty conditions, and I'm allergic to it. I hate going out to smoke-filled bars, only to go home choking, eyes watering, smelling like an ashtray, and I hate the idea of having to stay away from fun bars because of the sign above the door that says, "No No-Smoking Signs Here." On the other hand, I think it's a pretty un-creative solution.

They did something similar in Boulder when I lived there. Smoking was restricted in restaurants (maybe all public establishments?) to smoking areas with separate ventilation systems, and any amenities offered in the smoking section (including bathrooms, live music, etc.) had to be available in the non-smoking section as well. In a well-publicized case, the local dinner theater was shut down because one of the characters in the play was scripted to take a puff from a cigarette. There was one bar (the Sundowner) that cleverly put out ashtrays everywhere with large signs that very sarcastically indicated that the establishment most certainly did not support your smoking habit, and due to the new perfectly reasonable regulations on smoking, we have supplied these ashtrays so you can more easily obey the law and put out that cigarette you just lit up. Naturally, it was a smoker's haven, and their customer base was solidified.

I'd like to see more public places smoke-free, and there aren't good market mechanisms for coordination on that sort of thing. But banning smoking outright ignores the simple fact that millions of people are addicted to cigarettes, and anyway have no intention of giving them up, law or no. What about a licensing program, like with liquor licenses? They needn't even charge for them—as long as the quantities are restricted, it should work fine. Or perhaps tax breaks for pubs that prohibit smoking? Or? Or?
posted by dilettanti at 5:51 PM on February 4, 2003


This just in German's banning beer in bars...
posted by geist at 5:54 PM on February 4, 2003


I was in a Wetherspoons pub in London at the weekend - not the most salubrious of places but it did the job. They have the policy of no smoking at the bar and a large-ish non-smoking area. They also have no music and no noisy games machines. And the beer is cheap. I was in the smoking area with other smokers and some non-smokers. By 10.00pm the smoking area was packed full. As I went to the loo I noticed the non-smoking area had loads of empty tables and only had people in it at the edge of the smoking bit.

"People go to bars to hang out for a long time and get fucked up."

I smoke a lot but I'm happy not to smoke in any building you name, even my own home should my housemates desire it, except a pub or bar where alcohol is served. Some things are sacred. If you don't like it, go to a coffee shop or something.

I think we take this stuff too seriously. If I understand it correctly, when this kind of stuff was pulled in France everyone just ignored it and carried on as normal. Seems like the sensible course of action.
posted by peteash10 at 5:55 PM on February 4, 2003


Sorry, but I keep picturing a couple or three old gaffers my dad's age -- say, WW II generation -- filling and tamping their weatherbeaten old Peterson pipes and about to light up, when the barkeeper says, "Sorry, gents, Dublin says you're not to anymore." Imagine the looks on their aged faces...
posted by alumshubby at 6:00 PM on February 4, 2003


Another thought. I've been in a non-smoking pub. There was no-one in there smoking except me, and I felt obliged to sit at the end of the table and blow towards the window. If you want non-smoking pubs/bars then fill them with non-smokers. Just an idea.
posted by peteash10 at 6:05 PM on February 4, 2003


It's been like that in Kitchener Waterloo, Ontario, Canada for donkey's ages. And we don't even allow enclosed space smoking.

Personally, I like it. I've been to many more restaurants and other public places since. I mean, it's not my business if you want to kill yourself, but it becomes my business when you try to kill me too. [ Studies have shown that breathing in second hand smoke contaminated air for more than an hour has the same effect on the body as smoking a pack of cigs. ]

The people who have been ignoring the this ban have pretty much been shut out of business. The bloc of 30 businesses is down to 2, and those 2 are failing under the fines they're having to pay.

I regard this as no different from someone walking into a restaurant and opening up a can of Agent Orange. Wouldn't you want that banned? So why is cigarette smoking any different? Because someone gets pleasure from it? Well... so did Hannibal...

If you're an addicted smoker you have the money to afford a support clinic. If you choose to limit what you can do in life, it ain't my trouble.
posted by shepd at 6:53 PM on February 4, 2003


In Norway they banned smoking at the actual bar some years ago.
For a while (2 weeks) it was sort of semi-respected.
Then people started smoking in the bar, but holding the cigarette an arms length away from the bar.
This just resulted in a lot of ash on the floor, so now everybody just cheerfully ignores this law.

Like people do with most laws that are supposed to make them healthier than they want to be.
posted by spazzm at 7:10 PM on February 4, 2003


And no, I don't smoke.
But I really think it's better that people smoke in bars, where they only hurt themselves and other adults, than that they smoke at home where they might hurt their kids or their neighbours kids.

What's this about the staffs health anyway? I've never met a barworker that didn't smoke.
posted by spazzm at 7:14 PM on February 4, 2003


Studies have shown that breathing in second hand smoke contaminated air for more than an hour has the same effect on the body as smoking a pack of cigs.

I call bullshit on this one. More than an hour? How much more than an hour? Too vague, show us the source.

I regard this as no different from someone walking into a restaurant and opening up a can of Agent Orange.

I laughed out loud at this one. I just picture farmers giving fieldhands packs of cigs telling them "Exhale on the weeds, Paco!" Heh, that'll do it.

Hey, look, I smoke 3 packs a day, and it hasn't hurt me or the 12 kids I babysit at my daycare one bit. They lovingly refer to me as Puffy Yellowfingers. I love those weezy little bastards.
posted by pemulis at 7:23 PM on February 4, 2003


It's the first time the Irish have disappointed me. I can't imagine Irish pubs without smoke and the colour it burnishes them with.

The end is nigh, to be sure.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:34 PM on February 4, 2003


For the record, Kitchener-Waterloo is the only city I've ever been in where people walk down the street crying with surprisingly regularity. ;D

Frankly, I'm curious if anyone has a link to a reputable study dealing with the effects of second-hand smoke? Much of the debate seems to be over its effect, but the only studies I can find are put out by obviously biased groups (tobacco companies and anti-smoking agencies).
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 7:50 PM on February 4, 2003


Maybe we simply aren't smoking enough?

Miguel, it doesn't bode well for the smoking jacket brigade, my friend. Civilization as we knew it is simply slipping away. (altho I quit a few years ago - *sigh*)
posted by madamjujujive at 8:05 PM on February 4, 2003


As for me, I never smoke, except when I'm drinking. Nicotine and alchohol are a great combination. There is nothing finer than a Macallan's 18 and a nice clove or a good cigar.

I really don't understand why private smoking clubs couldn't be established. The cover charge will be one pack of cigarettes (to guarantee only smokers or those willing to pretend to be smokers will attend), and once inside, everyone can frolic in the smoke to their (slowly self-destructing) heart's content. Non-smokers will be excluded and allowed to go sulk in the ordinary bars and clubs. This would be a complete and happy nightlife apartheid. Only smokers (or those willing to fake being smokers) will be hired at these establishments.

All of you whiners who feel oh-so-choked will have plenty of places to go and only those who wish to smoke will have to be exposed to smoke. Everyone would be happy, no? Free choice would be a wonderful thing.
posted by pandaharma at 8:36 PM on February 4, 2003


Hey! I have a great idea! How about instead of smoking cigarettes : you load a gun, and shoot yourself in the face!

Get it over with. Morons.
posted by Satapher at 8:53 PM on February 4, 2003


"The Vintners' Federation of Ireland said ... that ventilation systems were effective in extracting smoke."

Ba ha ha ha ha...!

I'm with you, panda. I also think these two types of bars/clubs should have very clear signs at front windows or doors alerting potential patrons as to their smoking policies.

The other benefit of this idea is that those on the prowl would have a greater likelihood of meeting potential dates who match their own smoking preferences (there ya go...).
posted by mirla at 8:53 PM on February 4, 2003


Hey! I have a great idea! How about instead of smoking cigarettes : you load a gun, and shoot yourself in the face!

::loads gun, shoots self::

Mmmm, smooth....
posted by pemulis at 9:49 PM on February 4, 2003


I'm surprised no one has mentioned the ban on smoking in bars in Boston (effective May 3rd, IIRC).

Look, anti-smokers. Smoking is a legal product. Get over it. I see no reason that a bar can't operate on a "smoking only" policy. But criminalizing it outright? Where's the logic in that?

When cigarette taxes went up in New York City ($7.50 a pack now), they hurt small businesses and bodegas that are now trying to survive on lottery sales. If cigarettes are outlawed in bars, it eliminates one of the big reasons to even go out to a bar -- namely, to relax and, as someone else mentioned, "get fucked up". Where's my impetus now? A single drink will cost me as much as a pack of cigarettes. Why bother even going to bars when I can just pick up a couple of six packs for a lot less and smoke while drinking in my apartment?

If big cities are trying to recoup lost finances in light of the recession, they're sure going about it in an ass-backwards way. There's no way bars and resturants aren't going to take a BIG hit because of this "no smoking" policy. Sure, a small number of people might still go out and have a drink, and certainly an even smaller number of non-smokers will now be able to go to bars without having to deal with smoke. Generally, though, this is going to hurt bars, and as a consequence, city revenues. For what? The health of the people working in bars? From my own limited experience (one restaurant, one bar) just about everyone working as a waiter/ress or bartender smokes.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:12 PM on February 4, 2003


Cigarettes are legal.
Alcohol is legal.
Marijuana is illegal.

Anyone have the statistics of reported deaths from marijuana use?

We all know the others.
posted by Satapher at 10:37 PM on February 4, 2003


C_D - now that you put it that way, I never realized how much smoking is actually good for the economy! Do you hear that giant sucking sound? It's the bars in Boston, they're all shutting down now that smokers no longer have a reason to go there. Have you shown these figures to the president? I think you & he might just lick this recession!! Fuck the waitresses inhaling carcinogens all day from their patrons, they knew the risks when they took the job! Besides, there's no link between secondhand smoke and cancer!
posted by jonson at 11:27 PM on February 4, 2003


If big cities are trying to recoup lost finances in light of the recession, they're sure going about it in an ass-backwards way. There's no way bars and resturants aren't going to take a BIG hit because of this "no smoking" policy.

I've lived in CA since the smoking laws (and even stricter ones have gone into effect), and for the most part, the "free market" (i'm putting this in quotes, because i am not an economist) seems to have taken care of this to some extent... Bars which allow smoking get more customers, typically, and thus, make more money, allowing them to write off as an "operating cost" the occasional bust.

The only guy getting screwed is the poor sucker with a cigarette in his hand when the smoking police kick down the door, and well, he probably should've walked outside anyways (I smoke while drinking, and I tend to prefer to smoke outside -- if i'm going to inhale a bunch of stale funky tobacco smoke, i might as well do it in an environ of fresh air, rather than inside and contribute to the stinkification of everyone's clothes).

oh, plus the government stands to make some bank. hope they give it to schools.
posted by fishfucker at 11:41 PM on February 4, 2003


(to clarify, the poor sucker inside with a cigarette gets a ticket as well as the owner of the bar.)
posted by fishfucker at 11:42 PM on February 4, 2003


We have a local coffee house that has been forced to herd the smokers into a small backroom area, while the non-smokers get the deluxe accomodations up front. Funny thing -- if you go there at night, you will invariably see 3 people studying up front, while the smoking area is absolutely packed to the rafters. It is a nonsensical state of affairs. I can see why the nannies are opposed to letting market forces decide -- they'd lose bad.
posted by RavinDave at 12:59 AM on February 5, 2003


Fuck the waitresses inhaling carcinogens all day from their patrons, they knew the risks when they took the job! Besides, there's no link between secondhand smoke and cancer!

Since most of them smoke, anyway, I'd think they'd be more worried about firsthand smoke.

And think of how many lives we could save from accidents involving drunk drivers if we banned alcohol from bars.

Oh, no, that's just crazy talk.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:24 AM on February 5, 2003


And think of how many lives we could save from accidents involving drunk drivers if we banned alcohol from bars.

Shhh! Don't give anybody any ideas! Next thing you know: no booze either!
posted by hama7 at 1:47 AM on February 5, 2003


No need to panic over this - take my word for it, over here laws are primarily introduced for decorative purposes, and are certainly not meant to be enforced (although most people other than the Vintners Association DO seem to want this piece of legislation to be enforced - Yay!).

As long as there is Guinness, there is no cause for alarm.
posted by Doozer at 2:26 AM on February 5, 2003


I think it's wrong. Everyone has the choice to visit or work in any particular pub or not. Owners should have the choice to set up smoking or non-smoking bars. For god's sake, next thing you know they'll ban people from drinking booze in pubs.

Don't get me wrong, I think banning smoking from most public places is fine... but leave the pubs and clubs alone.

At least it hasn't been matched up here... yet.

...and I quote: "The views of those who wish to breath air free from tobacco smoke should take precedence over those of people who choose to smoke."

Note that it doesn't say "the safety", but "the views".
posted by digiboy at 3:12 AM on February 5, 2003


Let me get this straight. The tobacco industry is allowed to get zillions in government support in the US, but we penalize the users. Sounds suspiciously close to a lot of other government policies about drugs.
posted by zaelic at 3:17 AM on February 5, 2003


---
Note that it doesn't say "the safety", but "the views".
---

Just to correct / clarify what I'm implying by this, while I can.

I meant that something like the following would seem a fairer policy: "The safety of those who wish to breath air free from tobacco smoke should take precedence over the views of those people who choose to smoke."
posted by digiboy at 3:32 AM on February 5, 2003


The day they ban smoking in bars (completely) where I live, is the day I'll start smoking again- at the nearest bar.
About the people working in bars: if they are not smokers they should be made aware of the alleged dangers of second hand smoking, pretty much in the same way that people who work in nuclear factories or coal mines are made aware of the (much more significant than passive smoking of course) occupational health hazards involved.
posted by talos at 3:41 AM on February 5, 2003


Just out of curiosity: Why do you smokers smoke? It's expensive, it ruins your lungs, and it has a high probability of killing you by way of cancer, emphysema, etc. All of you knew this when you started.

Is it a compulsion, a Freudian fixation, a means of being cool, or what?

I (and my mother and aunt) took care of my grandmother while she died of congestive heart failure, fluid in her lungs, and other complications of emphysema from smoking. It wasn't pretty and it took her a year to go. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
posted by Shane at 5:41 AM on February 5, 2003


Perhaps, you know, it might be the whole drugs and addiction aspect.
posted by digiboy at 5:45 AM on February 5, 2003


Why do you smokers smoke? It's expensive, it ruins your lungs, and it has a high probability of killing you by way of cancer, emphysema, etc. All of you knew this when you started.

Maybe we enjoy it?

Nah, couldn't be.

There is a big difference between something (like driving) which greatly increases your chance of dying in the here-and-now, and smoking, which increases (very slightly) your chance of dying five years earlier than you would otherwise.

The difference, of course, is that driving is a yuppie thing, whereas smoking is a lower-class thing; it's great sport to fuck with poor people, and it doesn't hurt those campaign contributions a bit! None of this surprises me — I only hope people realize what they helped to bring about when we have government-mandated maximum fat content for foods and caffeine and alcohol are illegal.

*lights a cigarette*
posted by IshmaelGraves at 6:15 AM on February 5, 2003


Don't smoke cigarettes. Smoked salmon!
posted by ParisParamus at 6:23 AM on February 5, 2003


Nice timing, Adam.

When I was in Ireland I did not find the pubs I visited to be especially smoky but, then again, I spend most of my time in France.

What's interesting is that when I go to the US, I always feel that something is missing from the bars and restaurants. When I return to France, I wonder how people can taste their food.
posted by Dick Paris at 6:23 AM on February 5, 2003


The difference, of course, is that driving is a yuppie thing, whereas smoking is a lower-class thing...

I wasn't aware of those class affiliations. I drive, but I drive a beat-up little hatchback with 250,000 miles on the car and 90,000 on its second engine and a driver's side door that doesn't open. I guess I'm not a yuppy, and certainly not by my income. But I don't smoke. Hmm.

Maybe driving Impress-the-Jones cars like Lexus and SUVs and Audis and such is yuppy. But I didn't realize that smoking was a proud symbol of the working class, or was limited to the working class.

Does this mean I can never be a working class hero unless I smoke?
posted by Shane at 6:26 AM on February 5, 2003


Hooray. Everyone knows humans live forever if they're not exposed to tobacco smoke.

Another reason not to move back home.
posted by thedude256 at 6:30 AM on February 5, 2003


It's true, Shane, that you will never be a working class hero unless you smoke. I go to bars to fraternize with other people who are interested in killing themselves slowly. Snooty non-smokers need not apply, as far as I'm concerned.

But, don't worry about Ireland - that law will be ignored.
posted by goneill at 7:04 AM on February 5, 2003


Snooty non-smokers need not apply...

Wow. Not only am I not truly working class and can never be a working class hero, NOW I'm also snooty because I'm a non-smoker. Amazing, these implications and inferences. Nobody's ever called me snooty before. What a bad day. It's official: I'm not cool. No class will have me.

But I've always refused to have any class anyway : )
posted by Shane at 7:41 AM on February 5, 2003


The reason people smoke (as I've posted before):

Nicotine is one of the greatest drugs known to mankind. It can instantly calm nerves, significantly reduce depression without sexual side effects (a far more effective anti-depressant than prozac), focus the mind and provide a temporary increase to IQ. Studies have found smokers are more alert, and have more of a mental focus than non-smokers.

It also has a strongly positive benefit to schizophrenics, significantly reducing the 'voices' without any of the nasty side effects of other psychotropic drugs. Some researchers have found the drug has further mental benefits. Longterm smokers have a greatly reduced chance of developing Parkinson's or Alzheimer.

Nicotine moderates the negative impact of alcohol while enhancing the pleasure, by delaying the onset of nausea and by moderating the onset of drunkenness.

Nicotine, by itself, can give one a wonderful, lightheaded buzz and yet, even at the peak of the buzz, one can still drive and think and function normally, unlike the euphoria brought on by practically every other drug which leaves one irresponsible.

Nicotine can also act as great social lubricant. In conjunction with the positive mental effects mentioned above, nicotine loosens the tongue and removes most social anxieties. There's a very good reason the smoking section of your bar or restaurant is usually much more convivial than the non-smoking section.

So these are the reasons people smoke. Some of these reasons are why some people get addicted. Its not a class issue and its not an appearance issue. Nicotine provides several benefits to our society and its certainly the most pleasurable drug I've ever encountered. Its the only drug I've encountered which allows one to get quite a buzz from consuming but one never loses control as a result of overindulging.
posted by pandaharma at 8:56 AM on February 5, 2003


Hey! I have a great idea! How about instead of smoking cigarettes : you load a gun, and shoot yourself in the face!

Get it over with. Morons.


Isn't the internet great? Keep the meaningful commentary coming, Satapher!
posted by Skot at 9:22 AM on February 5, 2003


As a New York smoker, I dread March 31 (although it was smart of Bloomberg to not have it go into effect in the dead of winter, this way by next winter, people will be more used to it). On the other hand, I don't think workers, whether they smoke or not, should be exposed to so much second hand smoke--although studies vary wildly as to the effect of it, you know it can't be a Good Thing.

So, although I intellectually approve of the ban, I'm still going to be bitching and moaning with all the other smokers when I have to stand outside in the middle of a snow storm to have a cigarette while I'm out drinking. Which means I'll probably go out less.
posted by witchstone at 9:22 AM on February 5, 2003


Sorry Skot, I can't sympathize stupidity.
posted by Satapher at 11:38 AM on February 5, 2003


pandaharmer : Terrific explanation.

Something else I noticed recently. Can you think of a single famous artist -- in any field (music, painting, writing, etc.) that didn't smoke? No? I wonder what the percentage of smokers who are Nobel Prize winners is. My bet would be pretty high. Most important physicists of our time smoked (Bohr, Einstein, Oppenheimer, Teller). Most great political leaders smoked (Churchill, both Roosevelts, JFK, de Gaulle). I could go on, but I think you get the point. The only exception I can think of is sports figures, because it would adversely affect their ability to perform. Except, even here there are hundreds of exceptions.

While I certainly wouldn't suggest that smoking will turn you into a genius, it certainly didn't seem to hinder any of the creative geniuses of the past couple centuries.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:02 PM on February 5, 2003


What I have to wonder is how many of the people asking us smokers why we're so stupid had to yank their jeans over their big fat asses this morning? Carrying around an extra twenty or forty pounds has to be far worse for you than puffing on a few cigs. Let he without sin blah blah blah.
posted by hellinskira at 1:02 PM on February 5, 2003


how many of the people asking us smokers why we're so stupid had to yank their jeans over their big fat asses this morning?

Not me! I'm a thin non-smoker! Hardly any ass at all (personality excluded). So I'm without sin, and you're still stupid.

Feel better now? I do.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:15 PM on February 5, 2003


LOL!

All famous artists/Nobel Prize-ers/geniuses smoke.
Smoking is better than antidepressants and other meds.
Smoking is only marginally bad for your health.
Public smoking regulations will result in draconian gov't regulations about food fat-content, etc.
Smoking is not an appearance or coolness issue.
Respectable working class people smoke,
but
Non-smokers are probably fat yuppies.

You folks are reaching ridiculously, grasping at straws. You're getting defensive, too.

Look, I never harshed on smokers here at all. What you all do is purely your own business. I never even said I was for or against the laws in questions. All I asked was, If you know the health risks, why do you smoke? This is an honest question, honest because I have never really understood the appeal of smoking, especially having seen up close the kind of slow death it can cause. Maybe if I were not allergic, I'd try a puff and I'd be a happy smoker. But I'm glad I'm allergic. If I want to spend $$ smoking something, it won't be cigarettes.
posted by Shane at 1:21 PM on February 5, 2003


All I asked was, If you know the health risks, why do you smoke?

I think pandaharma pretty much explains it entirely.

As for my observation -- it was just that: an observation. Refute it if you wish to try. But simply laughing at it without actually discussing the content -- well, how very Rush Limbaugh of you.

"Horse Laugh/Ridicule/Sarcasm: is a pattern of pseudoreasoning in which ridicule is disguised as a reason for rejecting a claim. It is a way to avoid arguing about a position by simply laughing at it. `Support the Equal Rights Amendment? Sure, as soon as the ladies start buying the drinks! Ha, ha, ha.' "
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:43 PM on February 5, 2003


FYI: they're now seeing indications that nicotine itself, independent of any smoke, promotes lung cancer.

Bitchin'!
posted by NortonDC at 3:23 PM on February 5, 2003


But, you see smoking is bad for you. You do all know that ... right?
posted by feelinglistless at 4:06 PM on February 5, 2003


Everything in excess is bad for you.

Driving too fast, driving too slowly, eating too much, eating too little, consuming too much oat bran, consuming too little oat bran, exercising too much, exercising too little, watching too much tv, not watching any tv (bad for you if you assume being semi-current with common culture is a good thing), reading too much, not reading at all, etc.

You take calculated risks with anything you do: Sleeping with the one you love and assume you can trust, assuming the cook isn't pissed off at the restaurant and didn't include diced shit in the ceasar's salad, hopping on I-15 for the daily commute when there's snow at the point of the mountain and the Mormon drivers are going 20 mph in the fast lane.

I'm taking the calculated risk that six cloves or two cigars a week will not affect my health significantly. You, over in the corner, are taking the calculated risk that ordering a second stack of pancakes will not push you further towards a triple bypass. And you, the thin one in the back, are taking a calculated risk that your Atkins diet isn't going to give you a night of pure agony as you attempt to pass your kidney stone.

I don't understand the growing level of puritanism about things which are bad for you. Since most of us are doomed to an eventual death around 75-90 no matter how healthy we are, why shouldn't we be able to enjoy our vices in moderation and privacy (i.e. non smokers aren't exposed to smoke, non-drinkers aren't exposed to drink, non-pancake-eaters aren't exposed to pancakes)?

Is this the growing common ground between liberals and conservatives: the fear that someone somewhere might be enjoying themselves?
posted by pandaharma at 4:41 PM on February 5, 2003


"I really don't understand why private smoking clubs couldn't be established. The cover charge will be one pack of cigarettes (to guarantee only smokers or those willing to pretend to be smokers will attend), and once inside, everyone can frolic in the smoke to their (slowly self-destructing) heart's content. Non-smokers will be excluded and allowed to go sulk in the ordinary bars and clubs. This would be a complete and happy nightlife apartheid."

It's be just like gay clubs are now - full of straight people who know it's much more fun in there. And frankly, I think this is a good idea. Keep the born-agains out of my face. Ooh, raw nerve on this topic.... There I was lurking on MeFi for three years (6 months as a member) and it's a smoking thread that gets me posting.
posted by peteash10 at 5:07 PM on February 5, 2003


assuming the cook isn't pissed off at the restaurant and didn't include diced shit in the ceasar's salad

He's actually more likely to put it in the soup, where it's invisible till chewed.

I'm signing off of this one. When an insult as hurtful and provocative as "how Rush Limbaugh" is thrown out, things are being taken a little too personally. Good night. No one will remember this thread in a week, anyway.
posted by Shane at 5:09 PM on February 5, 2003


I gotta say, though: somehow equating non-smoking with religious fundamentalism and conservative Republicanism? That's downright fucked up.
posted by Shane at 5:17 PM on February 5, 2003


Actually, I was equating the arguing tactics with those of a certain conservative Republican. Not their belief structure. Did you see that section in italics? The part about pseudoreasoning? Well, you can apply it to your "fucked up" statement as well.

I'd explain it but I'm just so overcome with sadness and a broken heart because nobody takes the time to read anymore.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:25 AM on February 6, 2003


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